Iowa Basketball Preparing to Meet High Expectations

September 21, 2020

Written by Anna Kayser

Hawkeye Nation

In what was an eventful week for Hawkeye fans with the return-to-play announcement of football, another important question has been answered: the status of the 2020-21 men’s basketball season. 

The NCAA Division I Council voted on Wednesday to begin both the men’s and women’s basketball seasons on Nov. 25, and with the return of big-man Luka Garza, one of the best players in the country last season, the hype surrounding his upcoming Iowa squad is strong. 

Following Garza’s announcement at the beginning of August, ESPN and CBS Sports each ranked Iowa as the No. 5 team in the country with projections at it being a Final Four team for the first time since 1980. 

Garza, after finishing second to Dayton’s Obi Toppin as the AP Player of the Year and John R. Wooden Award for the most outstanding men’s basketball player, is the favorite to be the preseason POTY following his stellar junior campaign in which he averaged 23.9 points per game. 

Iowa is returning its entire starting lineup from last season too, with a twist. The Hawkeyes have been plagued with injuries for the last two seasons, the biggest impact coming in shooting guard Jordan Bohannon who will return from redshirting last season following his second of two hip surgeries. 

ESPN’s projected starting lineup for the dominant Hawkeye squad is as follows: Bohannon, CJ Frederick, Connor McCaffery, Joe Wieskamp and Garza, all of which have a significant presence on the court at any one time. 

Continue reading below

Related In HawkeyeNation Forums

The key for Iowa is going to have to be carrying its hype going forward, and that includes riding it through the nonconference season – if there is one. 

Iowa’s offense is in good shape, ranking first in field goals made per game (26.8), assists (16.8) and points per game (76.2). With the return of Bohannon and Garza to the offense, those numbers could get much better very easily. 

The hole on the team comes in defense, and that started out in the non-conference season. The Hawkeyes had trouble staying consistent until the end when they were fighting for a potential NCAA tournament bid. Most notably, the team dropped its second game of the season to DePaul, 93-78.

Continue reading below

That game was lost on defense, and that continued through the conference season. Despite leading the conference in points per game, the offense was offset by an average of 75.0 points given up per game, the second worst in the Big Ten. Defensive efficiency was third worst in the conference. 

The key to the defense comes in Iowa’s swiss army knife, Connor McCaffery. Leading the team in assists on the offensive end, he pushes opposing offenses out of their comfort zone and can make a difference where it matters the most for Iowa. 

Continue reading below

McCaffery finished second to Joe Toussaint – who will presumably come off the bench next season – in steals per game. Toussaint, a rising sophomore, tallied 1.2 steals per game and two turnovers. 

This Hawkeye team is going to be exciting, there’s no doubt about that with the return of Garza. And if the defense steps up, it could be even better than predicted. 

 

HawkeyeNation Archives View All >

Hawkeye Nation

HN Radio Show – Previewing Northwestern

HN Staff

October 30, 2020

Joe Chmelka and Andrew Downs look back at Purdue and ahead to Northwestern in the Hawkeye Nation Radio Show on 1460 and 106.3 KXnO: Continue reading below Related In HawkeyeNation Forums Continue reading below Continue reading below Related In HawkeyeNation Articles October 30, 2020 — Minnesota DE Chase Carter Discusses Hawkeye Opportunity Iowa offers son…

Hawkeye Nation

Minnesota DE Chase Carter Discusses Hawkeye Opportunity

Rob Howe

October 30, 2020

Iowa offers son of former Golden Gopher basketball player.

Hawkeye Nation

4-Star Ohio OL Aamil Wagner Discusses Recent Iowa Offer

Rob Howe

October 29, 2020

Younger brother of Ahmad Wagner has history with the Hawkeyes.

Hawkeye Nation

Iowa Football Preview, Prediction: Retooled Wildcats Come to Kinnick

Rob Howe

October 28, 2020

New look Northwestern in Iowa City for Hawkeye Halloween.

Hawkeye Nation

Iowa Wrestling Preparing for HWC Showdown

Anna Kayser

October 27, 2020

Event taking place Sunday in Coralville.

Hawkeye Nation

Iowa Football Notebook: Indiana Grad Transfers, Friends Face Off

Rob Howe

October 27, 2020

Coy Cronk, Peyton Ramsey go from teammates to opponents.

Hawkeye Nation

Bohnenkamp: Iowa Feels Sense of Urgency in Short Season

John Bohnenkamp

October 27, 2020

Hawkeyes trying to avoid 0-2 start.

Hawkeye Nation

HN TV: Iowa Player Press Conference Highlights

Rob Howe

October 27, 2020

Hawkeyes look back at Purdue and ahead to Northwestern.

TOP